Prisoner’s Prayer, written by an unknown author, is a beautiful poem about regret, suffering and humility.
The poem begins with the narrator lamenting about his simple, more pleasant past. He has now been thrown in prison unjustly and suffers from great sorrow. He cries out to our Lord for mercy and salvation.
The narrator is not alone. He shares a cell with his companions who were also accused of crimes committed by others. The narrator calls onto God to save him because God knows who the true criminals are.
In my favorite stanza of the poem, the narrator insults those who put their trust in this unpredictable, worldly life we all live:
Fous est ke se afie
En ceste morteu vie,
Ke tant nus contralie
Et u n’ad fors boydie.
Ore est hoem en leesse,
Et ore est en tristesce;
Ore le garist, ore blesce
Fortune ke le guie.
Translation: “He is mad who trusts in this mortal life, which harries us so much and where is naught but deception. Now a man is in ecstasy, and now in sorrow; now he is protected, now wounded by Fortune who rules over him.”
In the final stanza, the narrator pleas to the Virgin Mary to request deliverance on his behalf. He suffers in every moment that he spends imprisoned, but knows that once God frees him the suffering will be replaced by bliss.
This beautiful poem reminds me of the story of Job. All goes wrong, yet still we trust in the Lord. Prison’s Prayer serves as a great example for the Christian faith.